Peter Rabbit

I’ll start by saying- I had very low expectations going into this film because the trailer was pretty awful. Moreover, I was already starting to become annoyed with the voice of James Corden as Peter Rabbit. Regardless, I stuck with my same rating system, where I start with an 8 and based on how much I enjoy it I move up or down proportionately.  (If my ratings seem to be stricter, it’s because I am trying to judge more harshly so when something I love comes out, it stands out more. Therefore the film I have watched most recently that I would like to demote is Tomb Raider because: sure it was very enjoyable, but was it very GOOD? My thought, probably not.)

My Rating Range:

0- Not even worthy of merit

1- Truly Cataclysmic

2- A complete waste of my time

3- Horrific

4- Bad

5- Not enjoyable

6- Okay

7- Enjoyable

8- Very Good

9- Incredible

10- Perfect

What is ‘Peter Rabbit’ about?

Based on the books by Beatrix Potter: Peter Rabbit (James Corden;) his threes sisters: Flopsy (Margot Robbie,) Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cotton Tail (Daisy Ridley) and their cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody) enjoy their days harassing Mr McGregor in his vegetable garden. Until one day he dies and no one can stop them roaming across his house and lands for a full day or so. However, when one of Mr McGregor’s relatives inherits the house and goes to check it out, he finds much more than he bargained for. What ensues, is a battle of wills between the new Mr McGregor and the rabbits. But when he starts to fall in love with Bea (Rose Byrne,) a real lover of all nature, his feelings towards them begin to change. But is it too late?

What did I think?

Positives: This film made me smile for large portions and if a film does that it must be doing at least something right. This slapstick was good and the exaggerated comedy sequences where people are slammed against walls via electric fences etc are the best versions of this. I liked Domnhall Gleeson because he’s great in everything and I really thought he played a villain embittered by the animals but also with a softness underlying from his love of Bea. Also I found it fun to start trying to guess who was voicing each character, however this could be considered a negative as my focus straight away wasn’t with the film.

Negatives: James Corden just isn’t Peter Rabbit. Right from the off his voice just didn’t work for me. He just seems very cocky and I don’t know whether this is how he is presented in the original books because I haven’t read them, but from what I have heard it doesn’t seem like it was. I thought that sections of the film were quite boring with truly terrible jokes that left deathly silence ringing around the cinema. Finally, one of the sketches made fun of an allergy in a way I thought was very insensitive. Although I appreciate they have apologised it should never have made it into the film

Conclusion: I thought it was alright. It went through it’s running time and not once was I bored but equally not once was I truly engaged. It had some good gags but it felt as if they were throwing jokes at you just hoping that one of them would land. Sure, some of them did, and I laughed more than once, but there were also vast expanses of dryness throughout.

My rating- 6.5/10 (Good with enjoyable parts)

Tomb Raider

After only watching one film last week and therefore only being able to do one review; I made to change that over the last weekend and have since watched a grand total of four films, that I will be reviewing over the course of this forthcoming week. For today I will be reviewing Tomb Raider.

What is this about?

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a young and fiercely independent woman, who chooses to battle for herself, rather than take advantage of the vast inheritance left behind by her missing father. That is until she is given an ultimatum: sign for her father’s company and all of it’s assets or let them be sold off. What she soon finds when following the trail left behind by her father, is something she never could have imagined, there was more to his life than just “boardrooms and business deals”. Lara knows that she must finish what he started; but how much will it cost her? And, will she make it back alive?

What are people’s general thoughts about this film?

Films based on a video-games always seem to draw a collective groan from critics and fans alike, as every time they just don’t seem to get it right. Michael Fassbender, Vikander’s other half, starred in a truly terrible adaptation of the very popular video-game series Assassin’s Creed last year. It seems that Vikander has come back this year to redeem the pair. However, based on lukewarm ratings on IMDb at only 6.9/10, a very poor rotten tomatoes score at 49% and past experience with Hollywood in general, I admit I wasn’t particularly optimistic. But I wanted nothing more than for this film to prove me wrong and show me there is something to be said for this genre.

What did I think?

Positives- I must start be saying that I found myself enjoying this film an awful lot more than I imagined I would because:

  1. Alicia Vikander is fantastic- I think she has really dug her teeth into this role because although most of the stuff happening was truly fantastical her acting remained serious and focused. There are scenes throughout the film, and I don’t know whether it is intentional or not, that feel like part of a video game. Finally, I thought that her robotic run was just something she was doing for ‘Ex Machina’ but it turns out that this is just the way that she runs.
  2. The action is very actiony- Sometimes in these films they try and be too smart and leave out action sequences in place of little nuances that are lost on almost everyone. Let’s be honest what we all really want from a film like this is a good build of tension and lots of action and I’m pleased to announce this film has both.
  3. I liked the backstory- I thought it set up film well and I really liked the fox and the hound idea.
  4. The plot twists were intriguing- A key event that happened in this film happened and was quite a shock to the audience but the reason I liked it as much as I did was because it wasn’t revealed in the trailer. Nowadays key plot points are released in the trailer more and more often. For example in the Thor Ragnorak trailer the fact that Thor fights Hulk is released in the trailer. WHY COULDN’T IT JUST BE LEFT TO THE FILM? Anyway this film managed that well so well done.

Negatives- I feel like what was wrong with this film was definitely in the minority but there is no doubt things were wrong. At points the plot is just completely preposterous and makes no sense at all. The main example of this is the ladder scene at the end. Why on earth did she kick the ladder off before she got where she needed to? Moreover, it is quite clichéd but as it’s a Hollywood blockbuster I wasn’t at all surprised. Finally, when Daniel Wu shouts “Go Lara” it is absolutely pathetic and the only reason it didn’t completely detach me was because I was expecting it from the trailer.

Conclusion- I really enjoyed this film and sometimes that is all you need. Therefore I am happy to concede that I was wrong and there is something to be said for the genre. BUT, from the overwhelmingly mediocre response it has received I am worried that a sequel won’t be coming.

My Rating- 8/10

Red Sparrow

I had been interested to see this film as the poster and trailer, for some reason, left me expecting something new and exciting. My only worry, was that it had received a 6.7/10 on IMDb which didn’t fill me with hope. However, as I sometimes enjoy films that are not loved by the masses, Suicide Squad IMDb- 6.1/10 My Rating- 9/10, being the key example: I was interested to see what this film would do and whether I would enjoy it more than others had.

Synopsis: Ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) severely breaks her leg mid-routine and is rushed off to hospital but told she can never dance again. With dance previously dictating her whole life: she finds herself in real bother when her dance company refuse to pay for the house and medical fees they had covered while she was dancing. Her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) gives her a way out and explains she must complete just one job and then she can go back to her old life. But when the job doesn’t go as planned, she is forced to become a Sparrow and goes to a Sparrow training camp, where she learns to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission leads her to Budapest, to extract the name of a mole within the Russian government, from the CIA agent Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton.)

Positives: I thought the initial ideas of this film were very intriguing and engaging and left me feeling very hopeful for what was to come. I thought that the idea of the “Sparrows” was something different and was the main source of our engagement throughout. I thought that it initially built tension well with a number of mini climaxes that keep us involved. I thought some of the scenes were quite gritty and tough, but I think this helped give the story a sense of reality despite all the crazy things going on. I thought that the final scenes were superbly executed and used a very well constructed plot twist to top off the film in style. (I will say no more for fear of spoiling it.)

Negatives: This film stands at 140 minutes which is far too overlong for most films but especially ‘Red Sparrow’. The middle hour could easily have been trimmed to half that time as it just runs back and forth with everybody playing the same game but nobody getting anywhere, which I appreciate may be telling of real life but nobody wants this in a film. Also it made Russia look like the same country you see in videos from the Cold War, which made it seem more of a piece of American propaganda, than a standard film.

Conclusion: I think IMDb’s rating of 6.7 is fair: I personally would say, that it is marginally better than that due to it’s powerful and impactful first half, that was severely let down as it led into the final section.

My Rating: 7/10

Mini Reviews: 10 Cloverfield Lane/ Lone Survivor/ The Book of Life/ Liar Liar

As I have watched a lot of films recently and won’t be able to do a full review on all of them, I thought today I would do a series of mini reviews based on the film listed above.

10 Cloverfield Lane:

This film is a claustrophobic horror thriller, that interestingly builds a sense of intrigue, almost solely from the confines of an underground bunker. With just three actors taking up the majority of the screen time, a lot of emphasis is put on their acting and for the majority they take that brunt well. I definitely don’t think this film is without faults. I think that for too much time nothing happens. Although this may be an attempt to accentuate the claustrophobic nature of the film it just made it boring and left us detached at points. Also I thought the ending was terrible. I don’t know whether this is followed up in the prequel or sequel, because I haven’t seen them, but even if it is, it made our time investment with this film almost worthless (as it was such a small part of a bigger thing.)

My Rating- 7/10

Lone Survivor:

A patriotic war film that follows the true story of four soldiers on their mission to defeat a Taliban stronghold.  Things take a dramatic turn for the worse, when a wandering group, of what look like farmers, end up inadvertently finding them, whilst they’re undercover in the mountains. When the group let the “farmers” go they soon become the victims of a terrifying Taliban onslaught. I thought this film was executed well and highlighted the comradery between the “brothers” in a very moving fashion. I thought the action felt frantic and quite frightening, like how it might have felt in an actual war zone. Finally, I liked the fact that all the soldiers were honoured at the end which gave it a real emotional depth. Conversely, I thought that it was a little bit over-played and over-patriotic with some of the things people said and did. These things may very well have happened and if I am wrong I’m happy to concede, but at points it left me slightly exasperated and detached.

My Rating- 7.5/10

The Book of Life:

An animated feature set on and around ‘The Day of the Dead’, that deals with themes such as: the importance of family, love and loss. This film was very similar to Coco and therefore will require some comparison a little bit later on. I thought this was a very interesting film that had diverse and interesting strains of plot throughout. I thought that the animating style, was different to anything I had ever seen before but in a very positive way as the characters were made to look like the toys shown to the children listening to the story. However, the film felt overlong and as it only had a 95 minute running time it left me beginning to question how great the plot was after all. This left quite a poor taste in my mouth, that I couldn’t shake with this film, even though I had enjoyed it. Now for the Coco comparison. I thought they were similar films that dealt with similar interesting key themes but I must say I thought Coco did it better. The world building done in Coco just wasn’t matched in The Book of Life and that is the main reason for my step down to an 8.

My Rating- 8/10

Liar Liar:

Jim Carrey stars as a lying lawyer forced to tell nothing but the truth for a whole day following his son’s birthday wish. This is a mildly amusing comedy that has some very funny gags and jokes. I enjoyed the central relationship between Jim Carrey, his son and his ex-wife and I felt like in terms of narrative structure, this was what held it together. What we need in a comedy is laughter and although some of the comedy was funny, I felt like we were being fed jokes at 100mph and only a few of them were hitting home. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the film, because I did, but I felt that if more work had gone into scripting, rather than letting Jim Carrey off of his leash, it could have been much better.

My Rating- 6.5/10

My order of preference for these films:

  1. The Book of Life
  2. Lone Survivor
  3. 10 Cloverfield Lane
  4. Liar Liar

If you enjoyed this then please like and follow. If I get five likes on this post I will make sure to do another one of these in the near future drawing on a specific genre to allow me to compare.

Jude 🙂

Game Night

Going into this film I was hoping for a funnier than usual comedy, thanks to good reviews on IMDb and across a wide variety of other formats. However, as I had watched the trailer a number of times before watching the film, I was worried that all the good jokes might just be in there (as is often the case with comedies these days, most notably recently with ‘The House’.)

What was it about?

Effectively, this film does exactly what it says on the tin. It is about a group of middle aged friends, who have a regular game night at Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie’s (Rachel McAdams’) house. Every week, they do the same old games with: Charades and Pictionary being regular favourites. Despite their enjoyment of the classics, they talk about what rich people’s game nights would be like and one of the friends, Ryan (Billy Magnussen,) becomes certain that they have fight clubs. When Max’s successful older brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler,) comes to town; Max reluctantly obliges to let Brooks host the next game night. Inevitably, it quickly becomes clear that this will be a Game Night to remember…

What did I think?

Positives: The very opening sequence of this film, instantly throws us into the hilarious comedy. The film is expertly shot and the way it pans over the whole group when they are together and then cuts neatly to individuals, really makes us feel like we are part of the group.

The script is very smartly written by Mark Perez with snappy dialogue and hilarious jokes. One of my favourites was:

(Group are playing Pictionary)

Group: What is it?

Gary: It’s me crying at the Green Mile in the cinema.

Group: How on earth were we supposed to know that.

Gary: I assumed everybody cried during the Green Mile.

Also, what made the script so great was, the film didn’t just rely on the comedy elements to make it an engaging and enjoyable watch. I loved the intrigue and drama that was consistent throughout and rather than just showing one clear plot line, it followed a number of different people and groups, developing different sub-plots that really helped maintain our engagement. I thought that some of the twists and turns were genuinely surprising, which is very pleasing as often in comedy films the whole plot is explained to you within the opening sequence. All this is great, but what people come for in a comedy is the comedy and if I wasn’t clear enough before this film is absolutely hilarious. I think I must have laughed at least 15-20 times and that is no hyperbole. There were funny plot sequences, sections of dialogue and even some bits I don’t think were supposed to be funny. If you are a fan of comedy you must go and see this film as it is one of the funniest I have ever seen.

Negatives: Although this film has an intriguing concept with a ‘Game Night’, the idea of a comedy that is rooted in friendship is nothing we haven’t seen before (therefore, when people say they didn’t enjoy it, I can see where they are coming from.) Moreover, I can understand why some people may say that the set pieces are just corny and cheesy, because to some extent they are, but most of the time for me, this just added to the fun. I agree that there were dry patches in the film but in no way did this: overwhelm or occupy a significant minority part of the film to bother thinking about: whilst watching it or past it’s 100 minute running time.

Conclusion: This is a very fun film. If you want a comedy that will: make you laugh and will maintain your engagement, this is the film for you. If you are not a frequent cinema- goer then I would say that of all the mainstream films, other than possibly Black Panther, this should be one you should try to see.

My Rating- 8.5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review and if you did, then please like and follow. I would just like to quickly say thank you to my 51 followers who helped me surpass the 50 mark yesterday. I REALLY appreciate it.

Jude 🙂

Lady Bird 2.0

As promised I went to see Lady Bird in cinema again, so I just thought I’d let you know what changed a second time around.

I felt I understood the film a lot better when I watched it a second time around. This is most likely because, for my second screening I was specifically looking for things that I may have missed the first time around and I definitely found them. Subtle and more major plot points were completely lost on me first time around; however, I don’t feel they really added that much to the story. It was still just a good film, with interesting component parts, but it wasn’t anything special. It has still maintained its 8/10 rating, which is a positive, however I didn’t think at any point about bumping it up. It just didn’t have anything that made me think “wow that was different” or “that was interesting” apart from in very brief fleeting moments.

It is GOOD film but by no stretch of the imagination does it live up to the hype that made me think it would be SPECTACULAR.

Today was a shorter post as I have already done my review of Lady Bird so if you are interested in everything that I thought go and have a look as not much has changed.

Jude 🙂

Oscar Winners 2018

After the biggest night in film, we finally have the winners for this year’s Academy Awards. For most of the “main” awards my predictions correlated, however, my later predictions took a slightly different turn. The awards in bold were the ones I predicted correctly and therefore the ones I didn’t are in normal font. Here are your winners:

Best Picture: Winner- The Shape of Water                                                                                                                          My prediction- Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Directing: Winner- Guillermo del Toro                                                                                                                           My prediction- Guillermo del Toro

Actor in a Leading Role: Winner- Gary Oldman                                                                                                       My prediction- Gary Oldman

Actress in a Leading Role: Winner- Frances McDormand                                                                                             My prediction- Frances McDormand

Actor in a Supporting Role: Winner- Sam Rockwell                                                                                                         My prediction- Sam Rockwell

Actress in a Supporting Role: Winner- Allison Janney                                                                               My prediction- Allison Janney

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Winner- James Ivory (Call Me by Your Name)                                                                                                         My prediction- James Ivory (Call Me by Your Name)

Writing (Original Screenplay): Winner- Jordan Peele (Get Out)                                                                           My prediction- Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Animated Feature Film: Winner- Coco                                                                                                                           My prediction- Coco

Cinematography: Winner- Roger A. Deakins (Blade Runner 2049)                                             My prediction- Roger A. Deakins (Blade Runner 2049)

Costume Design: Winner- Mark Bridges (Phantom Thread)                                                       My prediction- Mark Bridges (Phantom Thread)

Documentary (Feature): Winner- Icarus                                                                                                                         My prediction- Strong Island

Documentary (Short Subject): Winner- Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405                                                                                                                     My prediction- Edith+Eddie

Film Editing: Winner- Lee Smith (Dunkirk)

My prediction- Paul Machliss and Jonathon Amos (Baby Driver)

Foreign Language Film: Winner- A Fantastic Woman                                                                                                     My prediction- On Body and Soul

Makeup and Hairstyling: Winner-Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick (Darkest Hour)                                                                     My prediction- Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick (Darkest Hour)

Music (Original Score): Winner-Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water)

My prediction- Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water)

Music (Original Song): Winner- “Remember Me” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Coco)                                                                                                                         My prediction- “This is Me” by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (The Greatest Showman)

Production Design: Winner- Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau and Jeffrey A. Melvin (The Shape of Water)                                                                                                     My prediction- Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau and Jeffrey A. Melvin (The Shape of Water)

Short Film (Animated): Winner- Dear Basketball                                                                                                       My prediction- Dear Basketball

Short Film (Live Action): Winner- The Silent Child                                                                                                         My prediction- DeKalb Elementary

Sound Editing: Winner- Richard King and Alex Gibson (Dunkirk)                                                                           My prediction- Juilan Slater (Baby Driver)

Sound Mixing: Winner- Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo and Mark Weingarten (Dunkirk)                                                                                             My prediction- Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis (Baby Driver)

Visual Effects: Winner- John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover (Blade Runner 2049)                                                                                             My prediction- John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover (Blade Runner 2049)

Well done to all the worthy winners.

If you liked this then please like and follow, I would really appreciate the support.

Jude 🙂